Prager: Why do so many good people hold bad positions?
The title of his lates column is Liberals' Desire To Be Loved Is Their Achilles' Heel. Here's the follow up to the question in the title of this post:
... There are many reasons. I believe that naivete about human nature and about evil heads the list. But high up there as an explanation of liberal and leftist thinking is the desire to be loved.Prager, as usual, is right on the money with this. Read all of this column at the link I provided before the quotations above. Click Dennis' photo to browse all of his columns at TownHall.com.
All normal people want to be loved -- and that is a very good thing when the love is sought from good people with whom we have close relationships.
But many people want to be loved by far more than friends and relatives. For example, most celebrities ache for the love of the public, and while that is a psychological problem for them -- since the love of the public is not personally fulfilling and one then craves it more and more -- the yearning of celebrities for an adoring public has no negative impact on society.
The yearning to be loved becomes a major problem, however, in most other instances. It becomes a problem, for example, when in raising children parents are guided by a desire to be loved by them. Parents cannot properly raise a child if they are unwilling to be disliked, even occasionally hated, by their child.
But there are two areas where liberals do express a yearning to be loved, and these have macro, indeed, global, ramifications.
The most dangerous one is the liberal desire for their country to be loved.
One of the most often repeated liberal laments about American foreign policy under President George W. Bush is that America is more hated around the world than ever. As if a country being loved is evidence of its moral virtue.
The very idea is irrational. Name a country that is loved. Does a single country come to mind? Of course not. Canadian students traveling abroad often make sure -- via a big maple leaf on their backpack, for example -- to communicate that they are Canadian, not American. But that is because of America-hatred, not because foreigners love Canada. The idea is amusing. Are there pockets of Canada-love in India about which we have heretofore not heard? Are there 50 people in Uruguay who love Sweden, to mention the liberals' most admired country?
The aim of the United States of America should not be to be loved. As nice as that would be, the one superpower on earth is never going to be loved -- though I would bet a large sum of money that if China or Russia or any other country became the reigning superpower, people the world over would yearn for the good old days when America was the superpower.
America would presumably be more loved if it abandoned Israel or if it abandoned Iraq. Each case would be morally wrong, but, hey, we'd be loved. Liberals believed we would have been more loved if we had destroyed our nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. Or if we had not pressured West Germany into accepting Pershing missiles.
Also, I'm linking all of Prager's "Happiness Hour" radio shows on the left sidebar now. Check them out if you haven't listened before. You can find all of his radio podcasts (3 1-hour audio clips each day) here. Mostly fantastic stuff, and no commercials! :-)
Update: He takes it one step further this week. Next up... Why do people do evil?
10. Victimhood. A lifelong study of good and evil has led to me conclude that the greatest single cause of evil is people perceiving of themselves or their group as victims. Nazism arose from Germans' sense of victimhood -- as a result of the Versailles Treaty, of the "stab in the back" that led to Germany's loss in World War I and of a world Jewish conspiracy. Communism was predicated on workers regarding themselves as victims of the bourgeoisie. Much of Islamic evil today emanates from a belief that the Muslim world has been victimized by Christians and Jews. Many prisoners, including those imprisoned for horrible crimes, regard themselves as victims of society or of their upbringing. The list of those attributing their evil acts to their being victims is as long as the list of evildoers.Read #'s 1 through 9 here.
This is also true in the micro realm. Family members whose primary identity is that of victim usually feel entirely free to hurt others in the family. That is why psychotherapists who regularly reinforce the victim status of their patients do the patient and society great harm.
If my belief is even partially correct, the preoccupation of much of America with telling whole groups that they are victims -- of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and classism, among other American sins -- can only increase cruelty and evil in America.